The European Journal of Development Research

, Volume 27, Issue 2, pp 238–245 | Cite as

The Choice of the New Latin American Middle Classes: Sharing or Self-Caring

  • Kees Biekart
Special Debate Section

The Options for Claim-Making

With the growth of the middle classes throughout Latin America we also witness growing discontent and protest. The same has happened in Asia, Africa and even Europe (see the other contributions in this issue). More welfare and freedom is apparently accompanied by more demands towards governments, as well as equally more disappointments. Sassen (2013, pp. 125–126) explains this by pointing to the fact that the middle classes have been the main beneficiaries of the liberal welfare state. Now, however, ‘they are protesting against the state because the state is failing them – “austerity politics” is one important manifestation of this failure’. The question emerges: Is the increase in protests in Latin America really related to the growth of the middle classes? And if so, what would explain this dissatisfaction?

For some it is an easy explanation: Middle-class people simply want a steady and ‘good’ job that allows them to build their career and that of their...



I would like to thank Jürgen Wiemann and Alan Fowler for their comments and suggestions on earlier versions of this article.


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Copyright information

© European Association of Development Research and Training Institutes 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kees Biekart
    • 1
  1. 1.International Institute of Social Studies (ISS)The HagueThe Netherlands

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